East Lansing, MI
One player the Spartans have tremendous expectations for in 2016 is TE Jamal Lyles. The young man is entering his fifth season at MSU and is a pure athlete. At 6’3” 260# the Spartan young man played five positions in high school and has shined when given the chance here in East Lansing.
Lyles is a devastating blocker who was underused in the past with the green and white aerial attack. Connor Cook’s tendency to lock in on a primary receiver hurt all the Spartans TE’s in the past, and Lyles was no exception.
Devastating blocks at the point of attack showcased his strength and tenacity and with only 18 catches in his career, he has demonstrated an ability (14.7 Average yards per catch) that has been under used.
For Lyles he isn’t about himself. Well-liked by his teammates, he is only focused on the team as he enters his red shirt senior campaign.
“My goal is for the team to repeat as Big Ten champions and all the seniors have a great senior year. That is a personal goal I set very high.”
So is he ready to get past camp and start the much anticipated season? Of course!! “I am very excited to start, it’s a new opportunity each year. I am just excited to show what this year’s players can do.”
But Lyles is not what most envision and athlete as. He is smart and deep and he looks at things through the prism of one of the smartest players on the team. Entering his aforementioned fifth year, he is reflective of how far he has come as a young man.
“My first training camp I really did not know where practice zone was, which side of the field we practiced on, the different drills, the numbering on the field, I was pretty much lost. As a senior you know you can just focus on more of your technique and you know the things from the previous years that you need to get better. You just know yourself more as a player when you get older.”
So you might not have had a lot of exposure to Lyles, devasating blocks by big men don’t’ always make the Sports Center highlights, but big offensive plays do. That is why Lyles will continue to shine as his senior campaign will no doubt be his best.
A great player and an even better young man, keep your eyes tuned to #11, this is his year.